Tennis: It’s all about the LOVE! Written By Gabriella Hartlaub
Last Monday our girls’ Junior Varsity tennis team played their second to last match of the season against Bradford High School in Kenosha. This season has been one of hard work, learning, and camaraderie among the girls on the team as they have worked from not knowing how to play the game at all to playing matches against girls who have been playing for years. The team started off with ten girls and quickly grew to a team of twenty, sometimes even more, with all of the girls willing to put in the time and effort to pick up a whole new sport. For most of them, they had just a matter of weeks.
Some players joined before school even started, others joined when school started, and some joined weeks after that. All of them have different reasons for joining. Freshman Jordyn Czyzewski said, “I thought it would be a good way to get involved at Reagan, and I had a friend who was joining the team. I thought it would make the first few weeks/months of school enjoyable,” while others chose it because they had never done a sport before. Zenona Jasso, another freshman said, “It seemed interesting. I knew I had to play a sport and I’d never done tennis before.”
No matter the motivation for joining the team, most people had one thing in common: they had never played tennis before. All three of the freshman said they hadn’t played tennis in recent memory, with two of them having said they played a bit when they were young children. Therein lies the challenge... How to teach a group of girls who had never been played the sport before how to play, and on a pretty tight schedule. Practice began officially on the first day of school, August 13, and the girls already had a match set for August 21, just eight days later. However, they were only able to practice for six of those eight days due to the weekend.
By the time the first match rolled around, mostly everyone knew how to score and how to play, so off they went to Thomas Moore High School. Most lost, but what they gained was the experience that would carry them through the rest of the season. They now knew what a real match was like, how to play in one competitively, how to score, and most of all, how to cheer for each other as a team. The rest of the season was a learning process playing more matches against more schools, some within MPS and some not. This was a challenge both due to the relative lack of experience among the Reagan players but also the resources that the non-MPS schools had, like more time and their own tennis courts.
“There was most certainly a large disadvantage for our team when we were playing. For starters, most of the teams - particularly the suburban ones - had at least a summer’s worth of experience.” Czyzewski went on to say, “Us being mostly freshman in an MPS school… caused some major setbacks in the season but we worked with what we had.”
As the season progressed, the girls found that playing tennis wasn’t just enjoyable to play on the court, it could actually help them play off the court. Czyzewski, Jasso, and Kane all said that playing on the team helped them get more acclimated to Reagan and the community. “I feel like I really connected with the players on the team,” Kane, a freshman said. She later went on to say, “Such close friendships was one of the best things I gained.”
Now the season is coming to a close, and the mood amongst the girls is one of sadness but excitement about the year ahead and the next season in the fall.
“Honestly, it’s sad. I know I’ll see the girls around school but it's nice to spend time with them doing something we all enjoy,” Kane said. “And I am going to miss playing the matches.”
“I feel sad, really. Depressed,” Jasso said, “This has been so fun.”
“I will miss cheering for my teammates, taking silly pictures, singing songs and improving my tennis skills along with myself as a person,” said Czyzewski.
The following Thursday the girls participated in the all day Tennis tournament with other schools in milwaukee. Czyzewski took first place in the B Bracket, and other girls placed up and down the team in both singles and doubles. It was a good end to a great season. When asked if she would join the team next year, Kane replied, “Absolutely, and I hope everyone else will too.” “This has been a great experience thanks to all of the girls and Coach Wood,” Kane said.